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Cutter Delay is Latest Evidence of Systemic Problems with Coast Guard Ships

Monday, March 3, 2008

The formal acceptance of the new U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter Bertholf, slated for last week, was supposed to be good news for the nation's troubled fifth military service. Instead, the 5,000-ton ship -- the largest and potentially most powerful vessel in Coast Guard history -- has become another chapter in the mounting scandal surrounding the service's $25-billion Deepwater modernization program. Deepwater, launched in 2002, aims to build new ships and airplanes and connect them all with a secure, electronic command-and-control network using common components.

In recent years, the 50,000-strong Coast Guard has been buffeted by a rapidly aging fleet of boats and ships, steadily expanding responsibilities -- both at home conducting law enforcement and safety patrols, and overseas as a junior partner of the U.S. Navy in anti-piracy patrols -- and a string of problems related to Lockheed Martin's and Northrop Grumman's work on Deepwater. ...

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